The purpose of this study was to research the readiness of rural hospitals in the United States to respond to a local community disaster. Following the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, literature emerged indicating a lack of hospital preparation. The scope of this study was to research the activity of emergency management planners for rural hospitals within the United States. Determine their level of ability to plan for, train, exercise and respond to any community disaster. The research is a qualitative study incorporating the interpretative phenomenological analysis method to evaluate results. Findings indicate that the literature and the data both agreed that rural hospitals are not fully ready to respond to an emergency event, whether it is internal or external to the hospital. Conclusions reached are that rural hospital planners have little time, resources and support to develop and operationalize a thorough emergency management plan. Further, hospital planners are handicapped with multiple assignments, many of which have a higher priority for daily hospital operations. In addition, a hospital’s minimal experience with community disasters may be cause for administration to commit limited resources and time to plan for an event they do not expect will occur. A limitation of this study was the time required to select and conduct study participant due diligence and data collection. The study contributes to the body of knowledge concerning hospital disaster preparedness by confirming the literature and identifying some of the operational, emotional and functional obstacles presented the rural hospital emergency management planner.
|Subjects||Management; Public health; Health care management|
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